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I’m just a’passin through.

Last night was a beautiful evening in Chicagoland, temperatures in the sixties and sunny with a slight bit of wind, one of those Mondays where I sat in the office imagining myself in spandex (contrary to my normal imaginings, which are watching Batman movies on J-Lo’s white spandex clad back side).  Of course, Mir called me at 4:25 PM, asking me if I could stop and get charcoal on the way home from work, then could some brats for the family’s dinner.

“But, but…” (and not J-Lo’s, again)

“Oh yeah, you probably want to ride tonight.  But this might be the only night it’s going to be nice enough to cook out on the deck.”

“But, but….gaaaaacckkkkk”

And I proceeded to ask if she could check in the storage bin on the deck to see if I already had enough charcoal, then run down the street to get a small bag of charcoal if there wasn’t enough.

“But, but….” It was Mir’s turn, “how do I know if there is enough?”


If it’s a nice evening, I can count on Augie, my retired neighbor, to be outside sitting in front of his house with more than one can of PBR surrounding him.  He gets real chatty when PBR and nice weather is involved.  As I pulled into the driveway, there he was, perched in a lawn chair and waving me over as I stopped my car.

“Hey neighbor, come on over.  I have one thing to tell you and you’re not going to believe it.”

I looked west as I set my foot out of the car.  There looked to be maybe two hours of sunlight left.  Since Augie was holding up two cans of PBR as I strolled over, I knew that a good portion of that sunlight was going to be spent jousting with Augie.  He motioned to his son-in-law, the beer sloshing out of the can in his hand.

“OK, Cardinal fan, you ever met anyone who doesn’t know who Stan the Man is?”  Augie is a good natured man, so it wasn’t a mean statement.  But I knew from his tone that I might as well have a seat.  “I would offer you a beer, but you’re probably going for a ride aren’t you?”

A half hour later I managed to sneak away as Augie’s wife pulled in the driveway.

The bright orange cord extended from one of our garage outlets and under the door into our house.  I followed it inside, down the hall and upstairs where the whine of my shop vac was screeching loudly.  Both animals were cowering at the bottom of the stairs, so I knew that Mir had been at it for a while.  Our vacuum cleaner was sitting in the middle of the kitchen where my floor obsessed wife had left it earlier, probably when she called me about the charcoal.  For some reason, Mir likes to use my shop vac inside the house, especially when she is in the mood to move things around.  Why she has to use my shop vac, I don’t know.  It’s suckage is superior to the house vacuum, but it also vents right back into the air, so it’s not really all that great for inside. 

And it’s MINE.  This world is not my own.

I should have headed right for my closet and I would have done so had the shop vac not been blocking the door.  Mir saw me.  She had that ‘I want to discuss everything in the world right now’ look on her face.  I looked west out the hall window.  The sun was sinking lower in the horizon.

Fifteen minutes later, I poked Nick the Sheltie as he slept beside me to startle him into a bark.  He distracted Mir long enough for me to escape to my walk in closet down the hall, where I pulled on my tights and jersey while Mir kept talking about all the things she wants us to spend money on.

This world really is not my own.

But I did get my ride in.  And I cooked the brats as I helped Miriam figure out why the desktop computer wouldn’t start up.  My wife growls and snarls at that machine while complaining about how long it takes to start up.  I walked over and unplugged the external hard drive that our daughter had left on, then restarted the computer for Mir, then went back out to turn over the brats.

This world really is not my own.  I did manage to prop my feet up for a few minutes at a time in between the “DAAAAAAAD” and “STEVE CAN YOU HELP ME” and….well….